a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: donald trump's choice to lead the cia talks tough on russia and defends america's spy agencies, hours after mr trump attacked them. i have seen their morale through tough times, where they have been challenged before, and i've seen them walk through fire to make sure they do theirjobs in a professional way. russia describes the deployment of thousands of american troops in poland as a threat to its national security. a big change for cubans fleeing cuba. the us ends its longstanding open—door policy. and the bromance lives on. barack obama surprises his deputy with america's highest civilian honour. hello.
donald trump seems to be at odds with some of his key cabinet nominees on several vital questions facing the new administration. his choice as new head of the cia has strongly endorsed the work of us intelligence agencies, hours after they were attacked by the president—elect. and, in contrast to mr trump's fond and admiring words for president putin, his nominee for defence secretary accused russia of trying to break up nato, and described it as a threat to europe. nick bryant reports from washington. a week before inauguration day, it is usually an air of expectancy that you will find on capitol hill, where next friday they will be playing hail to the chief as donald trump takes centre stage. but the mood now is much more feverish, much more surreal, as front—page allegations swirl that russia has compromising information about the president—elect,
that could make him susceptible to blackmail. do you solemnly swear to give the committee the truth... today, donald trump's choice as the new cia director was on capitol hill, claiming the new allegations are unsubstantiated, but agreeing the kremlin tried to interfere with the election. it's pretty clear about what took place here, about russian involvement in efforts to hack information, and to have an impact on american democracy. i'm very clear—eyed about what that intelligence report says, and have every expectation, as we continue to develop the facts, i will relay those not only to the president, but to the team around him and to you all, so that we all can have a robust discussion about how to take on what is an enormous threat from cyber. as for the latest allegations contained in the unverified dossier... i promise i will pursue the facts, wherever they take us. also on capitol hill, the incoming defence secretary, james ‘mad dog' mattis, taking aim at vladimir putin, putting russia at the top of his list of threats to america. i'm all for engagement,
but we also have to recognise reality, and what russia is up to. and there's a decreasing number of areas where we can engage co—operatively, and an increasing number of areas where we're going to have to confront russia. clapping. from trump tower yesterday, the president—elect rejected the unverified allegations russia has dirt on him, in strong and colourful language. you are fake news. go ahead. and after speaking last night to america's director of national intelligence, james clapper, he was just as vehement on twitter. but intelligence chiefs have made no determination about the credibility of the claims. "the intelligence community has not made anyjudgement the ongoing rift with the intelligence community
and the open disagreement with senior appointees over russia aren't donald trump's only problems. he has also been slammed by the us government's ethics chief. it is over his plan to hand control of the trump business empire to his sons. but for a0 years presidents have created independent blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest. the presidency is a full—time job, and he would have had to step back anyway. the idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. this is not a blind trust. it's not even close. washington is a city used to ethics questions and alleged scandal, but nothing like this on the eve of an inauguration. nick bryant, bbc news, washington. a former mi6 officer, named as the source of the latest allegations against donald trump, has gone into hiding. christopher steele produced
the dossier which included allegations that mr trump had been caught in compromising financial and sexual activity. the allegations are unproven, and us intelligence chiefs say they have made nojudgement on their credibility. our security correspondent gordon corera on the british connection. the murky world of intelligence—gathering in moscow. a secret dossier of allegations about donald trump and russia, all written by a former member of mi6, the british secret service. this is christopher steele, the author. a man used to keeping a low profile, but who is now at the centre of international controversy. his house was unoccupied today. the 52—year—old was supposed to have told neighbours to look after his cats. he is said to be lying low, fearing for his safety. in the 1990s, he worked in moscow, undercoverfor mi6, and became one of their russian experts. in london, after leaving mi6, he and a former colleague founded orbis — a private intelligence company. orbis are headquartered here.
there is no sign of chris steele, though. companies like this normally try and keep a low profile. they rely on their contacts, sometimes from their past in the intelligence world, to gather information. last year, donald trump's opponents, republican and then democrat, commissioned investigators to see what damaging material they could find. among those was christopher steele, whose work unearthed allegations about trump's sex life, business dealings, and his campaign's relationship with the kremlin. these were passed to the news media, who tried to investigate, but couldn't confirm the allegations. details were also passed to the fbi and to politicians, who began asking questions. last week, us intelligence briefed trump about the existence of the memos, without saying they were true. and that led to a news outlet publishing the memos two days ago. because he was an ex—mi6 officer, steele is unlikely to have been able to travel to moscow himself, so instead will have relied on intermediaries to
gather information. moscow's a difficult place to work in. the russians have a habit, because of their history, of secrecy and deception. the other complicating factor is money. people — if you're going to give someone money to tell you something, there is a strong possibility that they will tell you what you want to hear. alexander litvinenko also investigated the kremlin for private intelligence companies, and was working with mi6 when steele was there. litvinenko was poisoned by radioactive polonium on the orders, it is thought, of the kremlin. his widow told me these investigations carry real risks. i believe it's very dangerous, particularly after the death of my husband. because, when you just approach very specific information, particularly when this information is very close to very powerful people, you might be on this line, and you just easily might be killed.
the russian dossier was not written for public consumption, and its extraordinary allegations have not been proven. its author also never expected to be in the spotlight. but, in the feverish atmosphere of american politics today, secrets are no longer as safe as they were. gordon corera, bbc news. as if there wasn't enough happening in washington, the justice department is opening an investigation into the fbi's activities in the run—up to the election. in particular, they will look into directorjames comey‘s decision to reopen an inquiry into hillary clinton's e—mails just 11 days before polling day. democrats believe that helped hand donald trump his victory. the president—elect maintains it had no impact. the united states has scrapped its decades—old policy granting residency to cubans who enter the us by land without a visa. it is another step to normalising relations between the two cold war enemies. president obama restored diplomatic ties in 2015.
our correspondent in havana, will grant, told me a policy encouraging cubans to flee cuba had been looking out of place with the diplomatic thaw. i think that it was the cornerstone of the policy towards cuba from washington for 20 years or so, a sort of carrot, if you like, to the stick of the us economic embargo. but it makes no sense, as you say, under these new terms, the fresh relationship between washington and havana, seen under president obama, to be encouraging cubans to sort of abandon the country, with the carrot of finding they will have the right to remain with residency
in the united states when they get here, the wet foot, dry foot policy. it always had a slightly inevitable feel it would come to an end sometime under president obama and it has come right at the very end. there is no saying what a donald trump administration would make of this change, or the thaw in general. absolutely, we're waiting to get more clarity on what he will make on the entire thaw. to be honest, the situation does not look good in terms of continuing and deepening the thaw. he's already made clear noises that he thinks it's not a good deal for the united states. he's appointed somebody who is a staunch supporter of the economic embargo. it looks like you will roll back on certain advances made by the obama administration towards cuba. but exactly what he will do when it comes to this wet foot, dry foot decision, that, among many things, we will find out on 20 january. briefly, presumably donald trump will be under pressure from business friends to make a lot of money in cuba.
that's right, and i think we'll see it begin to divide into two camps. will he see this as trump the emerging politician, playing to the audience in miami, and south florida, taking a hard line with the castro government, or will he align with the businessmen who can see clear business incentives in cuba, especially in the tourism industry in the hotel industry and with international flights recently reinstated, of course. hamas security forces in gaza have broken up a protest by thousands of people demanding an end to chronic power cuts. it was one of the largest unauthorised protests in the territory since the islamic militant group took power a decade ago. sarah corker reports. the demonstration began in this refugee camp, and quickly grew in size.
protesters chanted we want electricity, and the crowd marched towards the headquarters of the state—run electricity company in northern gaza. tension mounted, stones were thrown, and then the sound of gunshots. gunfire. followed by panic. with just two or three hours of electricity a day, people here have learnt to improvise, stocking up on wood in this bakery. translation: the electricity used to come for eight hours. now we don't even get two hours. this demonstration is a rare sign of dissent in the territory, which the hamas militant group has ruled it for the past decade. translation: the electricity crisis in gaza has been worsening for ten years. year after year, due to the population growth and increasing demand
on electricity, while the power available is the same, and hasn't changed for more than 16 years. for weeks, local people have been enduring cold wintry conditions. for this man, no power means his utility scooter, his only way of getting around, is useless. the local power plant was damaged during fighting with israel, and is only working at half capacity. and, for gaza's 2 million residents, this electricity crisis shows no sign of easing. sarah corker, bbc news. police in el salvador saved the country has had 2a hours without any murders. it is the first day in two yea rs murders. it is the first day in two years without any killings. diggers from united nations give el salvador the highest murder rate in the world. since the new year more than
100 people have already been killed. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: we speak to the writer and director of la la land, the man who has brought the art of the musical back, very successfully, to hollywood. day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait has seen the most intense air attacks since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry, and it's one of its biggest, but the industry is nervous of this report. this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she'd been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children in south africa have taken advantage of laws, passed by the country's new multiracial government, and enrolled at formerly
white schools. tonight sees the 9,610th performance of her long—running play, the mousetrap. when they heard about her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance, but agatha christie would have been the last person to want such a thing. this is bbc news. i'm mike embley. the latest headlines: donald trump's choice to lead the cia has praised us intelligence agencies, hours after mr trump attacked them. russia, much in the news in the us, of course, has reacted strongly to a significant american military build—up in poland. the kremlin is calling it a threat to russia's national security. more than 3,000 troops are being deployed, together with tanks and armoured vehicles, along nato's eastern front. it is the biggest american military reinforcement in europe for decades. 0ur defence correspondent jonathan beale has been watching the american contingent arrive. the americans are coming,
back in europe in force. we joined an armoured convoy as it crossed from germany into poland, nearing the end of theirjourney that started in colorado. eagerly awaited in a nation that's been waiting for us support. what signal do you think it will send to moscow? that we are ready to do everything. it's a normal militaryjob to defend a country, to defend family, to defend the world. they came by road and by rail, an entire armoured brigade of 3,500 troops and hundreds of vehicles. three years ago, in less tense times, the last american tanks left europe. now they've brought more than 80 of them back. but, while they've been welcomed with open arms, the decision to send them was taken by president obama and, as he prepares to hand over
power, the question — will the next president soon be telling them to return home? you don't expect to get an order to turn round from the new president? no, sir, we're focused here on this mission right now and we're very proud to be here. the soldiers are very proud to be here and the formation is great, very strong. it's going great and we're going to remain committed to that because it's important. over the next few days, a steady stream of trains carrying us heavy armour will be arriving here in western poland, all part of the largest us military build—up in europe since the end of the cold war. and, while america says this is all about reassuring nato allies, russia sees it as a direct threat. translation: it is obvious the goal of these efforts, as well as hasty deployment of heavy military assets in europe, is an attempt of the outgoing 0bama administration to complicate as much as possible these
bilateral relations. britain, too, is boosting its defence of eastern europe, taking command of nato's high readiness force and with plans to send hundreds of troops to estonia and poland. the nato alliance wants to send a strong message to russia, but that will largely depend on donald trump. jonathan beale, bbc news, western poland. the new secretary—general of the united nations, antonio guterres, has said cypriot leaders seem determined to make progress in talks to re—unite the former british colony. the island has been divided for a0 years since turkey invaded the north and declared it an independent country. it's not internationally recognised. in 2004, a un plan to re—unify the turkish—controlled north and the republic of cyprus in the south was put to a vote. greek cypriots rejected it. one of the main obstacles now is the presence of 30,000 turkish troops, which greek cypriots
say is unacceptable. our special correspondent fergal keane has been to the island to see what is at stake. at nicosia's abandoned airport today, remnants of europe's longest unresolved conflict. an escalating civil war that led to invasion and partition. every 20 minutes there is an air attack on the airport of nicosia. with a deal now possible, this is a reminder of why the geneva talks matter so much in a place where memories are still vivid. we were gathered at the garden of the hospital, turkish hospital, and they took all the men to prison.
they burned the turkish flag and they put on the greek flag. for more than a0 years, the conflict on cyprus defied the best efforts of the united nations and the european union at resolution. the result was a generation that grew up knowing only the division of this island. and listening to their parents' stories of dispossession. the un patrols a buffer zone between the two sides. here in nicosia, turkish—occupied cyprus is a few metres away across no—man‘s land, still scarred by old battles. but now the talks have given maria hope she can go home to the village she was driven from four decades ago. everybody left, all the greeks left? yes, of course. we crossed the green line to see her old house, now occupied by a turkish family.
do you think you will ever, even with the peace deal, be able to come back here? among turkish villagers we also found good will, though some worry about property being reclaimed and fear extremists on both sides could try wreck a deal. an abandoned turkish village, a vision of the old cyprus. but this peace choir of greeks and turks,
a symbol of the new. of what so many here are willing their leaders to achieve. la la land was the big winner at the golden globes last weekend, taking a record seven awards, including best musical or comedy. it's a nod to old—time hollywood, against the backdrop of modern la. will gompertz met the film's writer and director, damien chazelle. # city of stars # are you shining just for me? welcome to la la land, the hollywood musical starring emma stone and ryan gosling which looks like it's going to sing and dance itself to 0scars glory. it's a genre of film—making that its 31—year—old writer and director thinks is unfairly derided as being a bit naff. this idea of musicals as being vibrant and vital, i don't think that they're the outdated think they get labelled as sometimes.
they're also notjust the purely fantastical thing that people sometimes label them as. i think musicals can actually say a great deal about real life and human emotions and humanity and also where we are now. and the need for dreams. # here's to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.# but from a writer and a director's point of view, what can you do in a song that you can't do in a script? i think of a song as... ..in a musical as a reflection of a person's innermost feelings. it's feelings that can't be described in dialougue or in kind of action. it's feelings that need the outlet of a song. # the look in somebody's eyes. we had about a 3—a month rehearsal period of prep where everyday ryan
and emma were in dance lessons, singing lessons, piano lessons. i think it's also part of fun, if you're going to work with movie stars like that, to put them outside their comfort zone, to see the vulnerability. maybe it means something. i doubt it. yeah, i don't think so. damien chazelle is not yet 32 but is already being widely lauded and applauded for his talents. he's a young film—maker living his own la la land dream. will gompertz, bbc news. finally, the internet is full of memes celebrating and sending up their bromance, and there's been a real touching moment in washington, as president obama caught his vice presidentjoe biden by surprise at a white house ceremony. for the final time as president i am pleased to award the highest medal of honour, the presidential medal of
freedom. you can see mr biden having trouble holding things together there. it is the highest civilian honour. and it was, clearly, an emotional moment. the pair have served together for eight years, and now refer to each other as brothers. as they prepare to step down, president obama said he was bestowing the honour for mr biden‘s faith in his fellow americans and a lifetime of service. this also gives the internet one last chance to talk about our bromance. laughter and for that of course. briefly, the top story. donald trump was my choice to lead the caa has praised the intelligence community, hours after mr trump had attacked it. —— cia. much more on that and all of the news on the bbc website. you can also reach me and most of the team on twitter. hello.
thursday always did offer up the prospect of more wintry fair more widely across the british isles than we've seen of late. it took a while, but eventually these were the sort of scenes many weather watchers recorded across parts of the midlands for example and then down into the south—east parts of east anglia too where several centimetres of snow fell on particularly the higher ground, with temperatures just that little bit lower. it took a while before all of that combination of rain, sleet and snow gradually pulled its way of back towards the near continent. all the while still plenty of showers in northern and western parts and that's part of the problem because, as the skies cleared, so those wetted surfaces are going to be really quite slippery in the first part of friday. there will obviously be lying snow for some and fresh snow to come if you're exposed to the north, north—westerly breeze. but it's the strength of the wind that's causing us concern. 0n the eastern shores, anywhere from yorkshire down towards north norfolk, because the waves will pile up
there could be some over—topping and a storm surge on the go as well. in that flow we may well have another band of rain, sleet and snow so watch out for that, that could be close by to you for your particular school run 01’ your commute. 0nce that's away, a decent enough sort of day. look at that, a lot of fine weather around, some sunshine doing absolutely nothing for the temperatures. i should say straightaway that there will be further showers in the western side of scotland, parts of northern ireland and western fringes of both england and wales and there you see what i mean about the temperatures really struggling and when you add in the strength of the wind across eastern parts, it will feel really raw. once we get the sun down and we get into saturday morning, ice again could be a significant issue. but for the most part saturday is a decent sort of day. yes, still further showers to be had in northern and western parts of the country but many central and eastern areas, yes, you still have the wind to content with and a sprinkling of wintry showers in some exposed eastern parts but it will be a decent day.
so i don't have too many issues with the premier league football matches. it's the lower leagues that may have an issue with frosted pitches. i'm sure many a clerk of the course with the race meetings will be keeping a close eye on the conditions indeed. saturday perhaps the last of the really cold air dominating. the isobars beginning to crank back as we bring in somewhat milder conditions from the atlantic, but it does mean we import more cloud and there will be enough about the cloud for there to be quite a bit of rainfall about as well. so milder, yes, but not as sunny and quite a dank day for many of us. the headlines on bbc news: donald trump's choice to lead the cia has strongly backed us intelligence agencies, a day after they were lambasted by the president—elect. mike pompeo, the man nominated to become the next head of the cia, said he valued the professionalism of staff and their efforts to ensure that truth reached policy—makers. moscow says the build—up of american military in poland is a threat to russia's national security.
more than 3,000 us troops, as well as tanks and armoured vehicles, are being deployed along nato's eastern front. it is the biggest us military reinforcement in europe for decades. the united states has ended a longstanding policy that granted special status to cuban immigrants, allowing them to enter and remain in the country without a visa. president obama said the immediate scrapping of the measure marked an important step in the normalisation of relations with cuba. let's have a quick look at some of the front pages of the morning's papers. the daily express says new snow chaos is on the way.